Monday, May 12, 2014

Network testing with iperf

I have had a couple of occasions now to use the iperf utility in network testing and have come to love it enough that I decided it warranted a post.  While there are more powerful tools such as wireshark, this one is nice because it is so lightweight.

The first time I used it was to test the bandwidth capabilities of my switches.  I discovered that my standard computers were unable to generate enough data fast enough to put a load on a gigabit switch.  By starting up a server to consume the data I was able to start up multiple clients feeding it to get me pretty close to the limit.
# starts the server in listening mode
(server): iperf -s
#runes the client for 1200 seconds which is 1 hr to the servers ip
(client): iperf.exe -c -t 1200

The second time I needed this handy utility was when troubleshooting a voip phone network.  I was not getting any dropped packets from the ping tests I had done, so I turned to this utility to see if perhaps UDP packets were having issues.

-c is client ip, -b is bandwidth size to be tested which adjusts how large of packets are being sent., -t is the number of seconds to run the test for.
(client): iperf -c -b .5mb -t 180
-s initiates the instance as a listening server, -u specifies it will be a UDP test, -i specifies the reporting interval in seconds.
(server): iperf -s -u -i 1

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